I have a directory of hundreds of Photoshop files (.psd) and need to locate files by searching for a string of text that exists within a file.

Using Finder to search for "Contents" doesn't seem to work.

Is there an app to accomplish this?

  • Have you tried EasyFind. It's a very quick searcher and you can search content of files in a folder. I don't know how it handles photoshop files though. I don't have any so I can't check it for you.
    – Natsfan
    Dec 9, 2017 at 19:44
  • Apparently an app called PSDMind once existed, although I can't find it anywhere.
    – user166405
    Dec 9, 2017 at 20:20
  • 1
    The .psd file format is a binary file, which can make searching more difficult but not impossible. I just tested searching for a specific text string, using grep, that I knew existed in a .psd file and it was found because the text still existed as a separate layer in the layout of the photoshop document, not merged down to another layer. So if the text layer containing the target search text has been merged down, it probably will not be found. It wasn't when I merged it in the one it found before merging it for the second search test. Dec 10, 2017 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


I have no idea if this will work because I don't know how PSD files store text, but try this. Open terminal (applications/utilities), type cd <space> and drag the folder containing PSDs onto the terminal; the folder path will be filled in. Hit enter. You are now "in" that folder in your terminal. Next, do grep -i "some string here" *. cd tells the system to change directory. grep is a command line utility that opens a file and searches for a string. -i is a flag that tells grep to ignore case sensitivity. Then you give it the string and * means all files in the current directory. See if that turns anything up.

  • This works quite well, thank you! However it cannot search subdirectories. Any fix to allow that action?
    – user166405
    Dec 11, 2017 at 17:19
  • 1
    Glad it worked! Add -R to the grep command and it'll search recursively.
    – Harv
    Dec 11, 2017 at 17:20
  • Thank you! The process is slow, but I assume that's due to the dozens of layers in each of my PSD files. But this is truly helpful!
    – user166405
    Dec 11, 2017 at 17:26
  • I'm really glad it worked out, because I wasn't sure that Photoshop stored text as actual text in the file. You can also try mdfind (which is the command-line version of Spotlight), it's the only thing that might be a bit faster; repeat the same steps as above but instead of using grep, type mdfind -onlyin . "some text here" - it'll be nearly instant but may not be able to find what you're looking for, presumably due to Spotlight not knowing how to interpret and properly index the Photoshop files.
    – Harv
    Dec 11, 2017 at 17:33

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